More bodies recovered in ship-A A +A
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
ON their third day of search yesterday, rescue divers recovered 13 more bodies from the m/v St. Thomas Aquinas that sank after a collision off Talisay City last Friday.
This brought the death toll to 56.
This, as fishermen who helped in the rescue efforts will be recognized by Talisay City Government officials.
The first body that was found at 6 a.m. yesterday, that of a little girl, was found by fisherman Anthony Monteron a few meters near the site of the sinking.
Monteron told reporters that while fishing near the area, he noticed something floating in the water. It was the girl.
Monteron carried the body and turned it over to authorities.
Ten more bodies were recovered by technical divers from the Philippine Navy, Coast Guard and volunteers.
Nine adults and a small child were found inside the vessel’s compartments.
This, as 2Go Group Inc. is working to contain the oil spill caused by the sinking of one of its ship off Talisay City last Friday.
The shipping company has employed the services of international oil spill experts to handle the situation, said Lito Salvio, 2Go Group officer-designate for safety management system.
Salvio has been attending the incident management team (IMT) meetings headed by Gov. Hilario Davide and press briefings since day one of the incident.
He said their company has deployed two Malaysian towage tugboats the day after the disaster in anticipation of an oil spill.
At the time of the tragedy, he said, St. Thomas Aquinas had 20,000 liters of diesel fuel, 120,000 liters of bunker or crude fuel in the ship’s fuel tank, and 20,000 liters of lube oil that were being used by the running engine.
The vessel carried mostly agricultural products from Mindanao, as it originated from Surigao and Nasipit ports, he said.
He said the ship was not carrying any cargo classified as “dangerous goods”.
After the bodies that were recovered yesterday were brought to the fish port, Augustinian priest Tito Soquino blessed the cadavers before the Disaster Victims Identification (DVI) Team from the Philippine National Police (PNP) checked them.
At noon, two more bodies of children were recovered at Pier 4 in Cebu City yesterday afternoon.
With 56 reported deaths, 64 remain missing.
But Incident Command Task Force spokesperson and Cebu City Councilor Gerardo Carillo said they will not call off the search yet.
The task force plans to extend the operations to neighboring coastal areas.
More divers will help in the rescue after 2Go officials said they are bringing in experts from abroad.
General Roy Devenatura, Central Command (Centcom) chief, said he won’t presume that the rest died inside the vessel.
“We can’t presume that they are all dead until we find evidence,” Devenatura said.
Search and rescue operations will resume at around 7 a.m. today.
In Talisay City, officials plan to acknowledge the efforts of the city’s fishermen for their role in the rescue operations.
Talisay City Mayor Johnny de los Reyes said he will ask the City Council to give him authority to reward the fishermen.
Talisay City Councilor Danny Caballero plans to pass a resolution in today’s regular session to acknowledge the fishermen’s efforts.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 20, 2013.